Japanese Kuma teddy bear phone comforts sick kids

(video from DigInfo, Tokyo)

Japan’s No. 4 cell phone carrier Willcom recently presented a very special kind of handset at the Good Design Expo 2008 in Tokyo (that ended last week).

The company actually put one of their cell phones into a stuffed bear (handmade), which functions as a simplified handset: Each of the teddy’s legs and arms serves as a speed dial. It’s enough to squeeze the right arm, for example, to establish a phone connection to a specific person. Incoming calls are answered by pressing the bear’s tail.

What may sound absurd initially has a rather serious background: Willcom says its Kuma Phone (Bear Phone) is designed to be easily used by small children who are hospitalized and want to be able to call their parents or other relatives easily.